He opened his eyes.
“Run”, a burly, dark figure stood in front, dwarfing his existence.
“Because that is how the game is played.”
“The game?” He was confused.
“The game. What else is there to play.” The instructor’s voice sounded convincing.
“So if it’s a game, do I get a reward if I win?”
“You’ll get cheese. The better you run, the more cheese you’ll get.”
He looked at the pile of cheese stored back home. The instructor sensed his discomfort and whispered in his ears, “Don’t you want new cheese?”
“I….don….think, really..” He sighed, still unconvinced.
“There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. Look at them”, the instructor pointed at the other anxious faces waiting for the gun to go off, “They all have a little bit of cheese back home.”
The silhouettes of countless others standing against the sun gave him a momentary peace.
“I see everybody is here.” He chirped.
The instructor cleared his throat. “You see, that’s the thing. Not everyone….is exactly here.”
“What do you mean?”
“Some people have a head-start. Some more than others.”
“No reason. I don’t make the rules.”
“Then who makes them?”
“The truth be told, there are no rules.”
“Then why are we running?” He was on the verge of going insane.
The instructor shrugged, “Someday, someone living somewhere decided that this is the only way to play the game. Almost everyone aggreed.”
“Is there any other way to play the game?”
He spoke after a long pause. “Can you tell me, please?” he squeaked.
The instructor’s eyes blazed with fire, forcing him into a corner. But then strangely, the instructor smiled. “I don’t know those rules. You will have to figure them out for yourself.”
“Does that mean I don’t need to run the race.”
“You should have started with this.”
“But then how would you know what to do.”
“Which I still don’t.” He once again felt as if his head was going to explode.
“Yeah. That’s a risk you’ll have to take. The game may end without you ever figuring out the rules. So that’s that.”
Both of them didn’t speak for some time. “Is figuring out the rules really that important?”
“No.” The instructor smiled and walked away, leaving him alone to play the game.
Inspired by the writings of Alan Watts.